February’s plant of the month is Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'Fire Dance', a wonderful, hardy shrub that will provide year-round colour and interest in your garden. February is the month ‘Fire Dance’ really shines, with clusters of bright pink, ribbon-like blooms that arrive just as you think winter will never end.
For the rest of the year ‘Fire Dance’ keeps its purple-bronze leaves which provide a striking contrast to green shrubs you may have in your garden throughout the summer months.
Originally from the woodlands of China, Japan and Burma, a part-shaded spot with protection from the wind, is ‘Fire Dance’s’ preferred position, where it will happily grow in a moist, but well-drained acidic soil up to 2 metres tall. The branches can be trained along a sheltered wall, or you could plant it in a pot amongst other hardy container plants. It likes to have cool roots, so a few rocks at the base of the shrub or at the top of your pot will help create the desired temperature. Our urban gardens in Cambridge do provide the perfect environment for ‘Fire dance’ with shelter and a mild climate meaning they are fully hardy. They are easy to look after as well – just a light trim after flowering will encourage bushy growth. All in all a perfect winter shrub for Cambridge gardens!